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Laughlin Table Report
 Part II

Edgewater Hotel

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The Edgewater Hotel-Casino is also in the Mandalay Bay Group like it’s other Laughlin sister, the Colorado Belle.  What I said about the Belle goes doubly for this sawdust grind joint.

They have a couple of long 18-foot monster tables.  Each table usually sports worn-out felt that occasionally is patched instead of being replaced. Even when they put on a "new" felt, it is usually a used one from the Circus Circus tables in Las Vegas.  I'm a firm believer in recycling, but this is taking it to the extreme.  They even used to use large felt patches to cover-up the old CC logo.  On a positive note, they usually have a 25-cent game during the week, and a $1 limit at most others.  On busy weekends you can expect a $2 game to be spread.  And YES, they are ALWAYS busy.

I have never seen them hassle any dice-setters.  Hell, I even saw one player licking the dice and trying to stick them together with his saliva before throwing them, and they didn’t even hassle him.   They do like to move the dice rather quickly since they need a lot of rolls to grind out a decent profit from those 25-cent bettors.

Expect to see a lot of older “system” players here with their notebooks.  As well, you’ll see quite a bit of prop action in the middle of the table with a those quarter chips flying in on the one-roll prayers…I mean payers.

The tables have quite a few dead-spots where there seems to be potholes under the felt.  If you slowly rub your hand across the Field box or the outer margin of the Pass Line, you will feel the uneven pits, ridges and gashes that are in the base material.

The Edgewater caters to bus tours from EVERYWHERE.  There are day-trippers from Phoenix and Vegas, and overnighters from anywhere within a 400-mile radius.  I refuse to stay here anymore.  Even their suites are in bad need of refurbishment.

Food at the Edgewater is passable, but I can’t tell you anything else that is positive about it, so I’ll leave it at that. 

Harrah’s-Laughlin

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I consider Harrah’s to be the McDonalds of the gaming world.  Whether you are in Council Bluffs, Iowa; North Kansas City, Missouri; or Vicksburg, Mississippi, the gaming experience is pretty much the same.  Oh, the regional accents will be different, but the product and presentation is generally the same.  It is that sameness that makes regular fans of Harrah’s into loyal Total Rewards customers.  Once you reach their Diamond, Platinum or even Gold status, the pre-comped room and food offers from a myriad of other Harrah’s locations usually pour in.

Harrah’s-Laughlin is one of the best deals going for just that reason.   Their $3 table-minimums can keep you in the game longer, and assist in the accumulation of comp-points.  Now, you already know that I do not advocate playing for comps.  However, my attitude is that if you are going to play; then make sure that you are always being rated correctly.  With Harrah’s you can frequently check exactly where you stand on the comp-hierarchy, and you know exactly what you are entitled to.

The dealers here are great in the usual Harrah’s tradition, and dice-setting doesn’t bring any untoward heat from the pit.  Their three tables are of the 14-foot variety, and the felt is usually in excellent condition.  You should be prepared for their smaller 11/16th inch dice instead of the casino-standard inch dice.   When you combine that with their larger pyramid backwall material, you may have to adjust your throw.  This subject in covered in my, Adapting to Tables - Part II article.

On the other hand, the shorter table-length aids in helping to dial-in just the right amount of adjustment that you have to make.  With 3x, 4x, & 5x Odds, the semi-busy tables provide somewhat regular shooting opportunities.

Some of their tables are dedicated for non-smoking, and are usually empty.  That is a big plus for non-smoking Precision-Shooters.  I haven’t seen any hassle for dice-setters at any Harrah’s property, and that again holds true for this one.

This 1600+ room hotel is consistently clean, upgraded and fresh.   They have a larger number of top-floor suites which feature walk-out patios, which suit me just fine.  It is the Harrah’s consistency that keeps its customer-base very loyal.   I like the profit-consistency that their tables generate for me, without the overcrowded situations that are found at most of their other, more popular properties.

A word or two about their food.  Any Harrah’s buffet is busy, again because of their Player Card (Total Rewards) program.  Only about 1 out of every 4 patrons actually pays for their buffet with cash.  Instead, point redemption is the order of the day (and night) at this non-stop feeding frenzy.  You’ll find that the old William Fisk (original chairman of Promus Corp. and Harrah’s Inc.) Steakhouse has been renovated into the new Range Steakhouse in keeping in step with their other major properties like LV, Lake Tahoe, etc.  I am not shy about recommending the Ranges’ Crab Cakes appetizer or their 24-ounce AAA-Porterhouse for you carnivores out there.

A couple of other things to keep in mind.  Their parking garage is a fair distance from the hotel tower.   If you are not into valet parking, then just be sure that the outside-temperature is below 130-degrees, otherwise it can turn into a Bataan Death March if you are humping luggage on the overland trail to the hotel.

As I said earlier, pre-comped freebie room offers keep this place rather busy.  With a nationwide network of casinos to feed this place, it is one of the most consistently busy of the higher-end Laughlin casinos.  While The Riverside stays full from it’s excellent marketing to near-locals and further (Denver 3 nights/$99) junket marketing, Harrah’s uses its Platinum and Diamond-level Total Rewards program to channel players from across the nation into Laughlin.

The Pioneer Hotel & Gambling Hall

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The Pioneer Hotel & Gambling Hall is a throwback to the old-style Vegas days of the early ‘60’s and ‘70’s.  It’s not pretentious or gussied up like some bussed-in whore from out of state.  She’s more like a home-town skank that everybody has had a turn with.  Yep, she’s a little tired looking, and a little rough around the edges, but she’s got a kind heart and she knows how to cook.  That pretty much describes the Pioneer.

Don’t expect to find fire-spewing volcanoes, pirate battles or gondoliers in canals.  You’re in the wrong town buddy!  This is where you’ll find 10x Odds and short, predictable craps tables that are equal or better than nearly any you’ll find on the Las Vegas Strip.  If frequent throwing opportunities and $2 or $3 minimums are what you are looking for; then this is the place.

The dealers show tremendous appreciation for consistent tokers, and player-hassling is near-zero.  If the tables are near-empty, the dealers become downright-cheerleaders for your Precision-Throwing efforts.  Excellent attitude and very easy comps makes this one of my favorites on the Colorado River.  Like other places in town, a $500 buy-in and $25 in “spread’ action will get you their complete run of the house.  If you normally have $35 to $50 on the layout; then you qualify for their huge 1200 sq. ft. river-suites, gourmet dining at their ill-named Granny’s Gourmet Room, and a full golf-comp to one of their nearby associated golf courses.

For maximum bang for the buck, the Pioneer is the low-market comp-leader in this town.  Also, if you are "percentage-play-driven," then in addition to 10X Odds, this place offers Field pays of triple (3x) on the 12.

This house also specializes in prompting you to return again and again.  Besides full RFB+++ for moderate play, they use free tickets to Laughlin’s special events to lure you back.  Events like the Laughlin Desert Challenge Off-Road races, the Weekend of Wheels Hot-Rod show, the Professional Bull Riders Championship, the Laughlin River Stampede, F-1 Outboard racing championships, the River Run bike gathering (millions attended, only three were killed), and Hot-Air Balloon festivals are all used to lure you back.  It’s a well-oiled promotional machine, which retains that Old West hospitality in the process.

Ramada Express Hotel & Casino

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The Ramada Express is the other low-market leader in this market.  If the median age of the Laughlin visitor is mid-50’s; then the average age of clientele at the Ramada is between 60 to 95.  I haven’t seen so many oxygen tanks since the mine-rescue operation in the coal-seams of West Virginia.  There are so many motorized carts, scooters and wheelchairs, that negotiating your way through the casino can be like running with the bulls in Pamplona, only not quite as safe as that. FORGET about trying to get on the elevator when there is a back-up of 20 to 30 of these vehicles waiting in line.  Take the stairs and thank God that you still are able!

This hotel-casino has positioned itself in the market to appeal to World War I, World War II and Korean War era veterans. From its American Heroes Museum to its “On The Wings of Eagles” military tribute; this property rightfully and respectfully caters to that demographic. Unfortunately, that demographic seems to relate to a specific psychographic that is less than friendly at the craps tables.  The players here have the most consistently grumpy demeanor that I have ever found ANYWHERE in the world.  Listen, I am no young pup or punk for that matter.  I made my bones at a young age, and I respect older people, but I don’t take crap from anybody, and this place has and deserves a unique reputation among dice-setters.

Get a load of this.  The dealers do not hassle setters at all.  They are professional and courteous, and they certainly appreciate tokes; but the players are another story.  First, they resent it if you toke the dealers because they say that you are making them (the non-toking players) look bad.  They reason that tipping is not necessary and definitely not needed for dealers in any casino.

Then to make matters worse, the players start yelling if you set the dice.  They start banging the palms of their hands against the inside backwall of the tables, and they start screaming at you to “stop f#%&ing up the dice, and throw them like a man, you f#%&ing idiot!”  I’ve never seen anything quite like it.  If it only happened once or twice, I’d pass it off as random acts of lunacy, but the dealers acknowledge that it happens here quite frequently.  When I proceeded to generate some mega-hands; these idiots were still bitchin’, moanin’, and complainin’ about my throwing after 47 minutes (and 24 minutes, 28 minutes, and 35 minutes) with the dice, and they were on the Pass Line winning right along with me.  They were like a flock of seagulls with their continuous shittin’ and squakin’.  What a hoot!

On the positive side of the equation, they do have full 5x Odds, and a $2500 table max at the Ramada Express.  Table minimums are usually in the $2, $3 or $5 range.

Comps seem to be very easy to get here, although I haven’t taken them up on too many of them.  Their rooms are quite run-down, and I’ve never had the pleasure of one of their suites, so I can’t tell you about that particular subject.  Their food is passable for retirement-home slop that you can eat through a straw.   Don’t let me discourage you from giving the Ramada Express a try.  Perhaps your experience will be better than mine.

Golden Nugget-Laughlin

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If I told you that Steve Wynn acquired this property on a Poker bet, you’d probably think that I was kidding you.  That’s pretty much how he got into the Laughlin gaming business about 22 years ago.  He gambled for and won a defaulted mortgage that a banking friend of his held on the defunct Bobcat Club Motel.  Wynn foreclosed on the property as the new mortgage holder, and proceeded to turn it into a mini-version of it’s GN-Las Vegas namesake. 

The Golden Nugget-Laughlin has decent 14-foot tables, but they are not happy if you walk away with too much of their money.  A "hit and run"  visit is a good play on their $2 tables.  I only hit them once or twice on any given shift, and I try to keep each session win under the $750 mark.  I also limit my buy-in to less than $500 (usually $300) so that the suits don’t immediately start “hawking” (closely watching) the game.  If you are the only player on the table, and you have three to five suits watching the game, you know that they are concerned about not letting you get too much of “their” money.    On the other hand, the up-market appearances of the GN keep most of the un-bathed riff-raff away from the tables, and solo-shooting opportunities are the norm rather than the exception.

Their Field-bet pays triple on the 12, which reduces the house-edge down to 2.8% on this bet.  That is 1.2% BETTER than a Place bet on the 5 or 9.  Think about that the next time you see “downtown” odds on the layout.

Let’s talk about comps for a moment.  Yes, they are fairly easy to get if you lose a lot of money.  However, for the skilled Precision-Shooter or the lucky random-roller who wins a fair amount of their money; then the comps are actually fairly difficult to get.  They seem to resent winners.  While they won’t discourage your dice-setting per se, they will use that “circling-vulture”, “we’re all staring at you to try to phase you” kind of intimidation.  Hell, it’s not as bad as actually barring dice-setting, so I’ll live with it.  The room and suite quality are on par with other MGM-Mirage family properties like Treasure Island and the LV-GN, and the food is also on that same level.

I’ll admit that I really like the Laughlin-GN for both playing and staying, but I am always mindful not to let them associate my face with the disappearance of too much of their money.

Avi Resort Casino

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This Mohave Tribe casino is located on a reservation about 12 miles from the other ten casinos in Laughlin, Nevada.   The word "avi" means “money” in the Pipa Aha Macav language.  They were obviously thinking of taking YOUR money, and keeping THEIR money when they came up with that name!

You’ll usually find $2 table minimums here at the Avi Casino, and they rarely raise them.  There is the limiting factor of a $500 table max, but that shouldn’t pose too much of a problem unless you get onto a really hot roll.

They sometimes institute a “no dice-setting-with-short-throws” rule.   However, it is unevenly applied and policed.  In fact, depending on the Pit Boss on duty at the time, the policy may extend only to individual players.

The last time that I was there, I was having tremendous success, and they didn’t hassle me one bit.   On the other hand, over the course of the two days that I played, three craps patrons were unceremoniously banned from shooting.  I was there for each occasion, and I can tell you that these three guys had next to no dice-shooting skill at all!  Then what was the reasoning?  It seems that if both dice don’t hit the back-wall of the table for two rolls in a row, without warning, they pass the dice to the next player in line.  If it happens to the same player twice in one day, YOU ARE OUTTA HERE!  Again, the policy is haphazardly applied at the whim of the Pit Boss or the Box-man, and totally without warning!

Oh, keep in mind that their Field bet pays triple (3x) on the 12.  That cuts the house-edge in half.  Like I said earlier, this makes the Field a “cheaper” bet than a Place bet on the “5” or “9”.  Something to think about if you get to this desert oasis anytime soon.

Dealer attitude is pretty good, but staff in other non-gaming areas can be a little spotty.  I’ll say this about it though, they have a huge and excellent beach area.  If you are into water-sports like I am, then this is a high-speed jet-boating paradise.  Because it is far removed from the other resort areas, this section of the Colorado is perfect for all-out high-speed runs over 100 mph.

Comps are fairly easy to get at the Avi, especially for low-season (off-season is June to September) full RFB.  There really is no type of “+++” comp benefits other than their watercraft rentals or their Mohave Resort Golf Club freebies.  While the casino is fairly small, (about the same size as Fitzgeralds Casino in LV), it never seems to get crowded or claustrophobic. 

While they don’t have a lot of hotel rooms (about 300), their restaurants serve decent but unmemorable meals.

Regency Casino

The Regency Casino had closed its craps table the last couple of times I have been there, so there is really no point in covering what could best be described as a slots-only joint.

That’s all for now, so

Good Luck & Good Skill at those Laughlin Tables…and in Life.

Sincerely,

The Mad Professor

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